In a groundbreaking move for soccer, both in Asia and North America, the Riyadh Season Cup match between Al Hilal and Inter Miami is set to be officiated by female referees, marking a significant moment in the sport's history. This decision underscores the ongoing efforts to promote inclusivity and diversity within the realm of international soccer.
Leading the charge is Edina Alves Batista, a renowned Brazilian referee, who, along with her team, will oversee the highly anticipated match. Batista's selection as the head referee for this game is particularly noteworthy, given her impressive track record. She was among the first female referees to officiate a men’s club soccer game at the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, along with Mariana de Almeida and Neuza Back, showcasing her pioneering role in breaking gender barriers in the sport.
Official referee for Al Hilal against Inter Miami today is Brazilian female referee Edina Alves Batista. pic.twitter.com/q1LMYi8p9K— PSG Chief (@psg_chief) January 29, 2024
Batista's experience has only expanded since then, notably handling the high-profile 2023 Paulistao final. Her leadership in this upcoming match is emblematic of Saudi Arabia's progressive stance as it prepares to host the 2034 World Cup, signaling a commitment to embracing global soccer norms, including gender equality in officiating roles.